Government yesterday summoned United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe Brian Nichols to express its dismay over Washington’s decision to impose sanctions on Ambassador-designate to Tanzania Anselem Sanyatwe and his wife, Ms Chido Machona.
Ambassador Sanyatwe is former Zimbabwe National Army Commander of the Presidential Guard Brigade.
Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade Ambassador James Manzou met Ambassador Nichols at his Munhumutapa offices where he expressed Government’s displeasure over the imposition of sanctions on the couple ostensibly over Ambassador Sanyatwe’s role in the opposition-instigated August 1, 2018 post-election violence that left six people dead and a trail of destruction to property.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade spokesperson, Mr Shepherd Gwenzi confirmed the development in a statement last night.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade on 2 August 2019 summoned the Ambassador of the United States of America to Zimbabwe His Excellency Mr Brian Nichols. He met the Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade Ambassador James Manzou,” said Mr Gwenzi.
“The purpose of the summons was to express the displeasure of the Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe over the public designation of His Excellency Lieutenant-General (Rtd) Anselem Sanyatwe, current ambassador designate to the United Republic of Tanzania and former Commander of the Zimbabwe National Army’s Presidential Guard Brigade by the US Secretary of State, Mr Michal Pompeo under Section 7031 (c ) of the FY 2019 Department of State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriation Act (Div FPL 116-61) allegedly for gross violations of human rights related to the August 1 2018 post election incident.”
Government noted that the decision by the US undermined current efforts by Zimbabwe of engagement and re-engagement.
“The decision by Washington is regrettable as it comes at a time that Government is intensifying the implementation of political and economic reforms including the Motlanthe Commission’s report recommendations. This runs counter to the spirit and substance of re-engagement. These sovereign processes must be allowed to conclude,” said Mr Gwenzi.
“That notwithstanding, the Government of Zimbabwe will continue with its reform agenda and its efforts on engagement and reengagement in pursuit of the national vision of making Zimbabwe an Upper Middle Income country by 2030.”
The US imposed sanctions on Ambassador Sanyatwe on allegations that he violated human rights during the violence that was orchestrated by the opposition to delegitimise the outcome of the harmonised elections which President Mnangagwa and the ruling Zanu-PF won.
The polls won praise from African observer missions and other stakeholders for their peaceful and orderly conduct before opposition MDC-Alliance supporters unleashed mayhem following threats by the party’s leader, Mr Nelson Chamisa and others that they would not accept defeat.
However, President Mnangagwa instituted an international panel of experts to inquire the incident and has since been implementing its recommendations, including reform, retraining and upskilling of the police service. But none of the killer soldiers has been arrested a year after the fracas.
On Thursday, Secretary for Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Mr Nick Mangwana criticised the US saying while Zimbabwe was pursuing a policy of re-engagement and rapprochement with some members of the international community, this should not be construed as appeasement.
He said the Motlanthe Commission worked in full of view of the public and had its hearings televised and run on different live platforms as the State showed it had nothing to hide, adding that no one was made immune to its subpoena.
He said this this was done in the interest of transparency and justice.